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TAMUQ undergraduate student selected for Undergraduate Research Scholars Outstanding Thesis Award in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM)!

Texas A&M University at Qatar undergraduate students Fatima Al-Janahi ’20 and Rahul Balamuruga ’20 mentored by Dr. Robert S. Balog have been awarded the Texas A&M University Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) Outstanding Thesis Award for STEM.

Photovoltaic (PV) system fire hazards pose a serious threat to public safety and finances. Arc faults are one of the main causes of electrical fires, shock hazards, and failures in PV systems, thus, arc fault detection is crucial for reliable and safe system operation and is a prerequisite for high penetration of PV. To develop effective arc-fault detectors, a thorough understanding of the electrical characteristics of PV arcs is required, which is possible only by obtaining large samples of voltage and current waveforms. Various combinations of electrode material and geometry, electrical voltage and current, and electrode gap separation profile can be studied as these factors are hypothesized to affect the electrical characteristics of the arc. The arc voltage and current waveforms are then analyzed using spectral analysis methods.

Their research was supported in part by an Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) grant # UREP24-023-2-010 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation).

The REAPER lab congratulates Dr. Morcos Metry for graduating with his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University

Dr. Morcos Metry received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering. His dissertation entitled “Model Predictive Control Methods for Photovoltaic Electrical Energy Conversion Systems” studied the theory of finite control set model predictive control (MPC) and the application to power electronics for photovoltaic (PV) energy systems. He developed novel control algorithms based on MPC for sensorless maximum power point tracking (MPPT) of the PV cells, control of single and three-phase grid-interactive inverters, and active filtering of the double-frequency power ripple within the single-phase inverter. His research resulted in a US patent application in addition to many scholarly conferences and journal publications. He also has extensive teaching experience as the primary lecturer and course instructor for the power electronics class as a Graduate Teaching Fellow for two years.

Dr. Metry received his B.S. from Texas A&M University at Qatar in electrical and computer engineering, with honors, in May 2014. Then he joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX USA to pursue his Ph.D. in Power Electronics. Morcos is also a research trainee in the Research and Development department of Qatar Foundation. His interest areas are in photovoltaic integration with the power grid using advanced control methods.

The REAPER lab congratulates undergraduate students Mr. Seif ElGazer, Mr. Abdelrahman Amer, and Ms. Nabila Elbeheiry on their graduation from Texas A&M University in Qatar

Undergraduate students Mr. Seif ElGazer, Mr. Abdelrahman Amer, and Ms. Nabila Elbeheiry graduated each their B.S. in electrical engineering. As a research team, they have been a part of the REAPER lab over the last year and conducted innovative research in load modulation strategies suitable for hybrid residential photovoltaic energy systems with storage. They had the unique privilege of presenting their project with a working demonstration to HH Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser and HE Hassan Al Thawadi during the 25th-anniversary symposium “I AM QF” of the Qatar Foundation. They have submitted their research results for publication. The REAPERlab wishes them good luck as they start a new chapter in their professional lives.

Undergraduate students present research at the Texas A&M University Undergraduate Research Scholars (URS) Symposium

Undergraduate students Ms. Fatima Al-Janahi and Mr. Rahul Balamurugan presented their research on characterizing electrical arc in photovoltaic energy systems at the Undergraduate Research Scholars Symposium in College Station, Tx USA

The team developed a computer-controlled mechatronics testbed to facilitate scientifically repeatable photovoltaic arc generation conditions and waveform recording. Moreover, the team created a MATLAB program to analyze the FFTs and STFTs of the current and voltage waveforms recorded. Their research was supported in part by an Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) grant # UREP24-023-2-010 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of Qatar Foundation).

Minjeong Kim presents research paper at the 2020 IEEE Texas Power and Energy Conference (TPEC)

Ph.D. student Ms. Minjeong Kim presented her paper entitled “A PWM Method for Single-Phase Current-Sourced High Frequency AC Link Inverter” at the 2020 IEEE Texas Power and Energy Conference in College Station, Tx USA 

The paper proposes a new pulse width modulation method for a current-sourced high frequency ac link inverter and the operation principles of a current sourced HF ac link inverter are deeply analyzed.

Lance Alpuerto presents research paper at the 2020 IEEE Texas Power and Energy Conference (TPEC)

Ph.D. student Mr. Lance Alpuerto presented his paper entitled “Comparing Connection Topologies of PV Integrated Curved Roof Tile for Improved Performance” at the 4th IEEE Texas Power and Energy Conference (TPEC) in College Station, Tx USA.

Partial shaded conditions diminish the performance of photovoltaic (PV) applications. Depending on the intensity and pattern of shading, the PV system will generate varying levels of current. This work investigates the performance under different connection schemes as a method of current mismatch mitigation for thin-film photovoltaics applied to a curved roof tile. Experimental testing of a-Si material on a curved roof tile replica suggests novel interconnection methods can significantly improve the capabilities of curved applications.

Senior design team presents project on smart residential photovoltaic and energy storage systems during the I AM QF event

Undergraduate students Mr. Seif ElGazer, Mr. Abdelrahman Amer, and Ms. Nabila Elbeheiry present their senior design project at the I AM QF conference which commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Qatar Foundation in Doha, Qatar. Senior design is meant to be a capstone for the undergraduate curriculum in which students integrate knowledge gained through their studies into a final project.

The team carried out a detailed techno-economic study for the implementation of a grid-connected rooftop photovoltaic and energy storage system in the State of Qatar through the development of novel electric load control techniques. Moreover, the team investigated the supplementary technology required to improve the overall resilience of the electrical power system when faced with overload, weather, or other natural/man-made disturbances. The team presented their work to HH Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser and HE Hassan Al Thawadi during an event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Qatar Foundation.

Lance Alpuerto passes Ph.D. preliminary examination

The REAPER Lab congratulates Ph.D. student Mr. Lance Alpuerto for passing his preliminary examination. His research pertains to the multiphysics modeling, validation, and optimization of non-planar photovoltaic (PV) applications.

Lance received his B.A. in Mathematics from Lyon College in Batesville, AR, in 2013 and then M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University at College Station, TX in 2016. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering at Texas A&M. 

Dr Balog presents a talk on arc fault and flash detection in photovoltaic and direct-current wiring systems.

Professor Balog presented a talk entitled “Arc Fault and Flash Detection in Photovoltaic and Building Wiring Systems – Detecting Electrical Safety Problems, Making the Electrical System Safer for the Customer,” at the 2019 Workshop on Safe and Reliable Electrical Distribution Systems for Qatar on December 2, 2019. The workshop was sponsored by a grant from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). The talk was followed by a question and answer session on technologies related to UL1699B and the detection of arcing events in photovoltaic (PV) and battery energy storage systems (ESS). Dr. Balog presented results from multiple research projects in the REAPER lab which were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), QNRF, and other sources. This including patented new technologies to make these direct current (DC) systems safer by improving the detection efficacy for arcing events.

Minjeong Kim passes Ph.D. preliminary examination

REAPER Lab congratulates Ph.D. student Ms. Minjeong Kim for passing her preliminary examination. Her research topic pertains to control of thyristor-based single and three-phase inverters.

Minjeong received her B.Sc. from Yonsei University in Seoul, S. Korea, in 2014 and the M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University at College Station, TX USA. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in power electronics at Texas A&M in College Station. Her interest areas control and modulation method for inverters.

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